Hollywood’s handful of Technicolor cameras got a real workout on 20th Century-Fox’s Down Argentine Way. Don Ameche stars as Ricardo Quintana, the charming son of a less charming Argentine horse breeder (Henry Stephenson). Betty Grable is vacationing American heiress Glenda Crawford, who “collects” horses as a hobby. Separated by a family feud, Ricard and Glenda must endure all sorts of setbacks and misunderstandings before crossing the romantic finish line. Filmed on location, Down Argentine Way served to introduce Brazilian bombshell Carmen Miranda, performing a variety of sizzling South American numbers with her own band. Also on hand are the Nicholas Brothers, whose show-stopping dance number has been spotlighted innumerable times in various “best of Hollywood musicals” compilations.
Calamity Jane (1953) David Butler, Doris Day, Howard Keel, Allyn Ann McLerie, Comedy, Musical, Romance
Deadwood, Dakota Territory, is largely the abode of men, where Indian scout Calamity Jane is as hard-riding, boastful, and handy with a gun as any; quite an overpowering personality. But the army lieutenant she favors doesn’t really appreciate her finer qualities. One of Jane’s boasts brings her to Chicago to recruit an actress for the Golden Garter stage. Arrived, the lady in question appears (at first) to be a more feminine rival for the favors of Jane’s male friends…including her friendly enemy Wild Bill Hickock.
Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1985) Alan Metter, Sarah Jessica Parker, Lee Montgomery, Helen Hunt, Comedy, Music, Romance
Janey is new in town, and soon meets Lynne, who shares her passion for dancing in general, and “Dance TV” in particular. When a competition is announced to find a new Dance TV regular couple, Janey and Lynne are determined to audition. The only problem is that Janey’s father doesn’t approve of that kind of thing.
Here’s to Romance (1935) Alfred E. Green, Nino Martini, Genevieve Tobin, Anita Louise, Comedy, Musical
International singing sensation Nino Martini made his American film debut in the Jesse L. Lasky production Here’s to Romance. His career bankrolled by the beneficent opera diva Mme. Schumann-Heink (playing herself), singer Nino Donelli (Martini) hits the big time, and as a bonus falls in love with his leading lady Lydia Lubov (Anita Louise). For a while, however, their romance is nearly loused up by wealthy, self-centered art patrons Kathleen and Emery Gerard (Genevieve Tobin and Reginald Denny). Also complicating matters is amorous ballerina Rosa (Maria Gambarelli), but she leaves the scene after turning down both Nino and Emery. Often listed as a 20th Century-Fox release, Here’s to Romance was actually one of the last Fox releases before the merger with 20th Century.
Higher and Higher (1943) Tim Whelan, Michèle Morgan, Jack Haley, Frank Sinatra, Comedy, Musical, Romance
Lady of Burlesque (1943) William A. Wellman, Barbara Stanwyck, Michael O’Shea, J. Edward Bromberg, Comedy, Music, Mystery, Romance
Sassy Dixie Daisy is the hot new attraction at a former opera house that’s been turned into a burlesque theater. She’s popular with the customers, although not with Lolita La Verne, a stuck-up diva who was hoping she’d get the top spot. Also complicating matters is the return of the Princess Nirvena, the show’s former star who once had a fling with the boss. When the Princess blackmails her way into the top spot, Dixie is none too pleased. When both Lolita and the Princess are murdered, Dixie becomes a prime suspect. She then sets up a trap to nail the real killer.
Two Guys from Texas (1948) David Butler, Dennis Morgan, Jack Carson, Dorothy Malone, Comedy, Musical
In this western-musical comedy, a remake of Cowboy from Brooklyn (1938), two vaudevillians find themselves stranded on a Texas dude ranch. Comic mayhem ensues as they cope with time in jail, a rodeo, and eventually love. They also help save the ranch from two greedy thugs trying to force the owners to sell. The story includes a Friz Freleng animated dream sequence featuring Bugs Bunny and caricatures of the two actors. Songs include: “Every Day I Love You Just a Little Bit More,” “Hankerin’,” “I Don’t Care If It Rains All Night,” “There’s Music In the Land,” and “I Wanna Be a Cowboy In the Movies” (Jule Styne, Sammy Cahn).
David Byrne walks onto the stage and does a solo “Psycho Killer.” Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz join him for two more songs. The crew is busy, still setting up. Then, three more musicians and two back-up singers join the band. Everybody sings, plays, harmonizes, dances, and runs. They change instruments and clothes. Bryne appears in the Big Suit. The backdrop is often black, but sometimes it displays words, images, or children’s drawings. The band cooks for 18 songs, the lyrics are clear, the house rocks. In this concert film, the Talking Heads hardly talk, don’t stop, and always make sense.
Follow That Dream (1962) Gordon Douglas, Elvis Presley, Arthur O’Connell, Anne Helm, Comedy, Musical
When the Kwimper family car runs out of gas on a new Florida highway and an officous state supervisor tries to run them off, Pop Kwimper digs in his heels and decides to do a little homesteading. He and his son Toby and their “adopted” children – Holly, Ariadne and the twins – start their own little community along a strip of the roadside. The fishing is good and the living is easy until the mob sets up a gambling operation and the state supervisor sics a sexy social worker on the Kwimpers in an effort to take away Ariadne and the twins.
Great Balls of Fire! (1989) Jim McBride, Dennis Quaid, Winona Ryder, John Doe, Biography, Drama, Music
Upstart rock ‘n’ roll singer Jerry Lee Lewis (Dennis Quaid) has just cut a record at Sun Studio. Jerry’s cousin, pastor Jimmy Swaggart (Alec Baldwin), tries to steer him away from a depraved life in the music business, but Jerry was born to play the so-called “devil’s music.” With rock ‘n’ roll king Elvis Presley busy with military service, Jerry sees his chance to claim the throne of popular music. But, his unabashed love of his 13-year-old cousin, Myra (Winona Ryder), may ruin his chances.